Toyota-backed self-driving startup Pony.ai raises $267m led by OTPP at $5.3b valuation

Pony.ai, backed by Toyota Motor Corp, said on Friday it has raised $267 million in the initial phase of its fundraising round that values the self-driving startup at $5.3 billion, as it seeks to boost its presence in the United States and China.

The latest funding, which comes just eight months after the company’s $462 million fundraising, makes Pony.ai one of the most valuable independent autonomous driving startups, with higher valuation than rivals Aurora and Nuro, according to data provider Pitchbook.

The investment comes at a time when global automakers, technology firms, startups, and investors — including Tesla, Alphabet Inc’s Waymo and Uber — are pouring capital into developing self-driving vehicles.

The funding was led by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board’s (Ontario Teachers’) Teachers’ Innovation Platform (OTPP), Pony.ai said in a statement.

“The company will explore mobility services with Toyota,” Chief Executive James Peng said, without disclosing further details.

Fremont-based Pony.ai, which is also backed by Sequoia Capital China and Beijing Kunlun Tech Co, plans to use the funding to develop technology and expand its fleet. Pony.ai started developing its autonomous truck technologies by early 2019, Peng told Reuters.

The company tests its vehicles in Fremont, Irvine, and in Chinese cities of Guangzhou and Beijing and also recently launched an operation site in Shanghai.

The firm is showcasing its autonomous Lexus sport-utility vehicle and an FAW’s truck at the China International Import Expo, or CIIE, an annual import show in Shanghai that started on Wednesday and runs into the next week.

Pony.ai also recently received investment from state-owned automaker FAW Group and will jointly develop autonomous cars and trucks.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.